Last week, the AFC North blog interviewed Cleveland Browns left tackle Joe Thomas during mandatory minicamp. We discussed whether Thomas is now the NFL's best left tackle, but we also touched on a variety of other topics along the way.
Here are some additional questions the AFC North blog had for Thomas:
You went to Afghanistan this offseason to visit with U.S. troops. How was the trip and the security?
Joe Thomas: Well, they try to keep it as secret as they can so it won't be a big spectacle. You sign autographs and they assign you a couple troops to kind of chauffeur you around most of the time. But for the most part, you're one of the soldiers. You stay at their accommodations. You eat at their mess halls. They didn't let us into the village, obviously. But we got flak jackets and bulletproof helmets and everything. But I didn't worry about [security] too much. Military charities have always been really important to me. Giving back to the military families and military members is always something that's really close to my heart.
Cleveland went 10-6 your rookie year and things haven't been the same since. Did you feel the Browns were on the right track back in 2007?
Thomas: It sure felt like it. But you never can foresee what happens in the NFL, because sometimes teams that make the Super Bowl the next year won't make the playoffs. There's so many variables between injuries and personnel changes with free agency that a team can be different from year to year.
What would the city of Cleveland be like if the Browns started winning?
Thomas: I can speculate because I grew up in the glory years of Green Bay in '96 when they won the Super Bowl. The fans in Wisconsin are excellent fans. I kind of compare Cleveland fans to the fans in Green Bay and Wisconsin. I saw how crazy it was and the way people were idolizing the Packers, Coach [Mike] Holmgren and all those guys. They were legends. It was such a buzz about everybody out there. I think that's the way it could be out here. I think here it would be even more, because fans have been so starved for championships.
What's your early impressions of quarterback Jake Delhomme?
Thomas: I've been really impressed. His leadership and the way he's dived in, he's not holding anything back. He didn't come in like, 'Hey, I got 14 years [in the NFL]. So I'm going to do my own thing.' He's become one of the guys. He's an awesome leader, and he's really been throwing the ball extremely well.
How can Joe Thomas get better this season?
Thomas: Everyone can get better. That's the great part about this game. You can get stronger, you can get faster, you can get a better understanding of the offense. I spent a lot of time trying to learn our defense this offseason and trying to understand the intricacies of blitzes. I'm learning more about the center position, the guard position, and I'm even learning more about tackles.